Pet deer removed for public safety

December 18, 2013

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (AP) — A Dauphin Island woman wants to know the fate of her two pet deer after wildlife officials removed them and said they were a danger to the public.

Staci Curtiss told the Mobile Press-Register that she had rescued the two deer and named them Daisy and Darby after their mothers were struck by cars and killed.

But Kevin Dodd, law enforcement chief for Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, said the animals had to be relocated for public safety reasons. He also said Curtiss could face charges for illegally keeping the deer.

"The problem is that the majority of the time these people have good intentions, thinking they're rescuing the deer. Despite those good intentions, they're really ignorant to the facts that they're actually doing a disservice to the animal and the general public," he said.

Dodd said raising wildlife such as deer in captivity causes the animals to lose their natural flight behavior.

"These type deer frequently are involved in vehicle collisions or fall victim to domestic dogs. More importantly, they often cause serious injuries to humans through antlers or flailing hooves."

Conservation enforcement officers tranquilized the two deer and released them at an undisclosed location after they recovered, he said.

Curtiss said she wants to know exactly what has become of Darby and Daisy. She added that her primary concern now is finding out exactly what happened to the deer.

"It's not that I want to go to jail. I've never been to jail. I just can't let it lie until I know where they are, and the only way to get that answer from anybody seems to be with an attorney," she said.

Daisy and Darby had been allowed to roam freely through the neighborhood and had even been allowed to enter some homes where people petted and fed them.

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier told the newspaper that he sympathizes with both sides.

"While it's unfortunate, I understand why it had to be done for the safety of humans primarily and the animals, as well. It's tough to handle for the people most closely associated with the deer, but ultimately, it's what had to be done."

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Information from: Press-Register, www.al.com/press-register/